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Environmentalist, Social Entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Ethique, the world’s most sustainable beauty brand


Brianne West is a New Zealand eco-beauty entrepreneur and founder of Ethique, which claims to be the world’s most sustainable beauty brand. Brianne - a qualified biologist - established Ethique in 2012 while completing her second year of a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Ethique was founded from Brianne’s passion for environmental conservation, knowledge of the cosmetic chemistry, and a desire to create a business that went beyond profit. As the world’s first zero-plastic beauty brand, Ethique manufactures and sells solid beauty bars in compostable packaging. More than 40 products, including shampoos, conditioners and face serums are sold in solid form - each bar lasting two to five times longer than their bottled equivalents.

As of November 2019, Ethique has prevented more than 6 million bottles heading to landfill and the company aims to save 50 million plastic bottles by 2025. After just seven years of trading since the company started in 2012, Ethique is valued in excess of $100 million. Recognised as one of New Zealand’s most successful social enterprises, Ethique donates 20% of its net profits annually.

Brianne describes Ethique as being on a mission to rid the world of plastic waste, with a focus on the beauty industry. She believes that pushing responsibility for dealing with product packaging onto consumers isn’t working - businesses need to take responsibility for the entire life-cycle of their products.

Current work
Brianne is the CEO of Ethique, which today manufactures and exports products from New Zealand to the United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

2019: Winner ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ award in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
2019: Winner ‘Business Enterprise’ category of the NZ Women of Influence Awards
2019: ‘Supreme’ award winner (small to medium enterprise) Westpac Champion Canterbury Awards, plus ‘Champion Innovation’ category award winner
2019: Winner NZ American Chamber of Commerce Awards ‘Exports to the USA - $1-10M’ category
2019: Placed fourth in the national Deloitte Fast 50 Awards and won the ‘Retail and Consumer Products’ category
2019: Commended in the Sustainable Business Network Awards ‘Communicating for Change’ category
2018: Co-runner up to Sustainable Business Network ‘Supreme’ award
2016: Brianne was recognised by US Foreign Policy magazine as one of 100 leading "Global Thinkers"
2016: After featuring in renowned publications such as Forbes, Huffington Post and 1 Million Women, Brianne and Ethique attracted the attention of international celebrities, including Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears, Sarah Wilson (I Quit Sugar) and Jamie McDell
2016: Vital Voices by Bank of America Mentee
2016: East-West Center’s Changing Faces Women’s Leadership Seminar participant
2016: Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women participant
2015: Brianne launched an online crowdfunding campaign through Pledge Me, which raised NZD$200,000 and attracted the largest number of female investors in the site's history. The funds were used to build a laboratory for developing and manufacturing Ethique products, and to help expand the company internationally.
2015: Brianne recognised as one of Deloitte’s ‘Rising Star - One to Watch’
2015: Silver Green Apple Award - Emerging Leader finalist

Outside Ethique, Brianne is establishing a charitable foundation to distribute the 20% of Ethique’s net profit that’s donated annually towards education, environmental conservation and animal welfare, alongside her own contributions. She is also exploring the viability of marine permaculture as a carbon sink alongside some incredible scientists and establishing a native forest in New Zealand to bring back our native wildlife.

We felt blessed to have Brianne West from Ethique join us as our guest speaker at the Seed Waikato 2nd Birthday event. This comment from one of the attendees really sums it up for us, 'Brianne was very interesting, and she gave some really good, genuine human advice. I loved listening to her stories of how being a woman has impacted her in business, her passion for sustainability, and her ability to make amazing things happen by just being herself, and working in a way that suits her'. Thank you so much for joining our celebration and sharing your journey in such an authentic and relatable way! Seed Waikato

Brianne was our keynote speaker at the sold-out Impact Summit with over 300 young people eager to make a difference. Brianne’s story was authentic & relatable and had some great tangible key messages that attendees could take away and put into action. I would highly recommend Brianne as a speaker who can inspire an audience to think differently about the future of business and sustainability.

University of Canterbury Centre of Entrepreneurship

We were so fortunate to have Brianne speak at our Icehouse annual lunch with an audience made up of Hawkes Bay’s most innovative and successful business owners. Brianne captivated the crowd with her wit and humour and insightful address. She kept the audience engaged and wanting more. She was a member of the panel discussion which again entertained and educated the audience.

Ice House
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